Concerned that the foods you eat may cause cavities? Or are you wondering if foods can prevent cavities? Either way, cavities are caused by the protective layer of the teeth, known as the enamel, being worn or eaten away by sugars and starches.
However, not all foods containing these ingredients are created equal. Keep reading to see which food are friends to your teeth — and which foods are foes!
Top Cavity Causing Foods
Foods like lollipops and candies bathe the enamel in sugar for as long as the child holds the sweet in his mouth, which can create the perfect storm of conditions for cavities to form. This allows bacteria to grow and the enamel of the teeth to weaken. Starchy foods, such as cookies, cakes, chips and crackers, are mashed into the molars where they slowly turn into sugar. It then works into any crevices and creates weak spots in the teeth that can become cavities.
Solid foods are not the only culprits that cause cavities. Sugary drinks like soda and juices can contain high volumes of sugar. The liquid then paints all of the child’s teeth, giving cavities and bacteria the perfect conditions to form. Some juices can also be very acidic, which eats at teeth and weakens the enamel even more.
Foods that Prevent Cavities
While it may seem counter-intuitive, chocolate is a good alternative to other sweets because it inhibits the growth of bacteria. Dentists have actually begun to suggest chocolate milk for children who do not like plain milk, as this will inhibit bacteria growth and make sure that the child gets his or her required calcium intake.
Another food that is good for avoiding cavities is cheese. Cheese stimulates the production of saliva, which helps keep the teeth clean and free of excessive bacteria. Cheese also neutralizes the acid found in saliva, which provides even more protection against enamel wear.
Time is a Factor That Can Cause Cavities
While knowing what effect certain foods have on teeth is important, it is also important to note that the amount of time certain foods spend in the mouth also impacts the risk of cavities. For example, lollipops and hard candies are held in the mouth for a long time. It can be beneficial to offer children water after having sugary or starchy snacks, to rinse the teeth, which will help prevent cavities.
Contact us now to get started on the road to a healthy, cavity-free mouth!